What Not to do When It Comes to Data Compliance

If you deal with other people’s data and information, then data compliance affects you — whether you are a small business or a massive company. How you store, secure, and protect sensitive data is extremely important and we are going to discuss three key things not to do when it comes to data compliance, but let’s start by discussing what data compliance is.

What Is Data Compliance

If you work with the personal data of others — including data related to finances, health, education, or other personal identifying information — then you have a responsibility to protect that information. 

Compliance involves both the privacy of personal information as well as how it is stored and secured. In some cases, how you protect that data may be regulated by governmental entities (such as health information) or industry regulations (financial data). Even if you don’t answer to anyone outside of your company about how you use your data, there are certain things you should never do when it comes to compliance.

Don’t Pretend it Doesn’t Matter

First, never pretend that compliance does not matter. Even if there may be no outside organization telling what to do with your data, you have a responsibility to your customers to make sure that their information is not accessible to just anyone and that it is stored in such a manner that hackers cannot easily access it (and that includes your backup systems, too). 

If your company falls victim to a hacker and someone’s information is exposed, you will not only lose the trust of your customer base but will open yourself up to lawsuits and other related expenses. If your industry is regulated when it comes to compliance, failure to adhere to proper standards leads to fines and lawsuits. Compliance is not a subject to treat lightly.

Don’t Fail to Stay Up-to-Date With Requirements for Your Industry

You may be subject to compliance requirements and not be aware of it yet. According to INFOSEC, the U.S. Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and Europe’s Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (the NIS Directive) have developed regulations that contain over-arching directives and guidelines for nearly any company that handles data.  If your company processes credit card data, then the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) establishes compliance rules.

Companies and organizations that work in education are regulated by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If you work with data that involves minors, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is important. If your industry is healthcare, then you must comply with the HIPAA Act. For those in the finance area, there is the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and Basel II. And for those doing business globally, then General Protection Data Regulation (GPDR) will impact you. And these are just a few examples of compliance regulatory bodies that can affect how you do store data and what you do with it.

Don’t Underestimate the Repercussions

There are major repercussions for those who fail to adhere to compliance. There can be expensive fines and time-consuming audits. As already mentioned, a data breach can lead to even more fines, legal fees, lawsuits, settlements, and other expenses such as credit monitoring or identify theft packages for customers who were impacted. There is also the damage to your reputation, which may be impossible to restore.

Conclusion

Regardless of what type of company you are, data compliance is important and that importance will likely increase as time goes by. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring data compliance, not staying up to date on the regulations that apply to your industry, or underestimating the repercussions. You owe it to the clients and customers you serve to keep their data private and secure.

Maryland IT Solutions

If you would like to ensure that your data policies are in compliance with the regulations that affect your company, then Maryland IT Solutions would like to partner with you. As part of our managed IT services, we will assist you in keeping regulated data safe and private by assisting you in compliance policy development, encrypted backup services, and powerful anti-virus systems.

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